CARPENTER EARNS CAREER-BEST 2ND PLACE IN KENTUCKY PHOTO FINISH SPARTA, Kentucky (Aug. 1, 2009) - Starting from the 14th spot on the grid for the Meijer Indy 300, held at the Kentucky Speedway, Ed Carpenter's drive for Vision Racing no less...
CARPENTER EARNS CAREER-BEST 2ND PLACE IN KENTUCKY PHOTO FINISH
SPARTA, Kentucky (Aug. 1, 2009) - Starting from the 14th spot on the grid for the Meijer Indy 300, held at the Kentucky Speedway, Ed Carpenter's drive for Vision Racing no less than stole the show in the No. 20 Menards Dallara/Honda/Firestone machine Saturday night under the lights. After passing seven cars in the first eight laps, Carpenter led a total of 34 laps and earned a career-best finish of second; finishing just behind Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe by a margin of 0.0162 of a second in the IndyCar Series' closest finish at Kentucky.
At the finish, Carpenter earned most-improved driver honors by advancing his position 12 spots from a 14th place start on the grid (based on entrant points) to his second place podium finish. He also set the fastest lap of the race for the second consecutive time at Kentucky with a 218.498 mph lap average (24.3847 seconds) on lap eight. From there, he continued to slice his way through the field in dominant fashion.
With the help of four flawless pit stops by his Menards pit crew, Carpenter took the lead for the first time in the race on lap 137 and held it for 34 laps. Carpenter and Briscoe battled it out side by-side for the remaining 9 laps with Briscoe edging the no.20 Menards car by just fractions of a second each time they got to the scoring line. With both competitors leaning on their push-to-pass buttons on the white flag lap, the fans were treated to a breathtaking finish.
The second place result is not only a career-best IndyCar Series finish for Carpenter, but matches the team's best finish of second scored by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the team's No. 21 entry on the Streets of St. Petersburg in the 2009 season opener. It is however, the team's highest oval finish and adds to their previous best run here of third, scored by A.J. Foyt IV in 2007. This is Carpenter's first career IndyCar podium finish.
Carpenter's past successes at Kentucky included a sixth place drive while setting the fastest lap of the race last year, as well as another good run in 2007 when he finished seventh by charging from the back of the field after a stalled engine on his first pit stop. Carpenter has six attempts at Kentucky with a podium finish and three additional top-ten finishes.
Earning his fifth top-ten finish of the season, and his fourth career top-five, and taking second place, Carpenter jumped from 16th to 12th in the IndyCar Series championship point standings. He now has 226 total points after 12 races (190 points behind the leader).
Briscoe's victory put him in control of the championship point standings with 416 total points. Rounding out the podium with Carpenter was Tony Kaanan of Andretti Green Racing. In addition to a great battle for the photo finish, fans were treated to twenty lead changes and just one caution, making this race the second-fastest (in mph) in series history.
Watch the IndyCar Series next weekend as they take on challenge of the natural-terrain Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200. The race broadcast will air live from Mid-Ohio on Sunday afternoon Aug. 9th at 1 p.m. (ET) on VERSUS.
Post Race Quotes: (Aug. 1, 2009)
Ed Carpenter - No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"I passed 3 or 4 cars on the start so I had a good idea I had a good car. It was fun running on a mile and a half oval next to a Penske car and run side by side for that many laps at the end of the race. I was trying to run Ryan (Briscoe) as high as I could to make him run the long way around and keep him from getting a run but just had to race him clean and he raced me clean. I have to be happy with second. It's a career best for me but it hurts being that close to a win. It doesn't come around often enough. I was hitting the overtake button as often as I could on that last lap. I knew it was going to be close at the line. He was beating me to the line almost every time on those last few laps. I kept trying different things to try to get an edge and do anything but crash. It was nice to have him race me so clean since he wasn't used to racing side by side with the Menards car for the lead. The Vision crew guys gave me some awesome pitstops and they were as perfect as they could be. Those guys should be very proud of the job they did tonight. I have to thank Tony and my mom and all of our sponsors, Menards, John Mansville, Lilly, William Rast for their support. It's been a tough year for the Vision team and this is a good result to help turn things around for the rest of the season but we were just one spot off from making it that much better. This is great for moral."